Author Archives: Ingrid Tieken

An 18th-century Garner?

Within this project, we take Robert Baker’s Reflections on the English Language (1770) to be the first English usage guide. But was it? In the introduction to the Merriam Webster Dictionary of English Usage (1989: 8a)) we are able to read … Continue reading

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A vintage copy of the Concise Oxford Dictionary

I always thought this is what the COD looked like: Until yesterday, when I found a lovely, what might be described as a vintage copy of the book on the Free Books Table we have on the second floor of … Continue reading

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The language of The Catcher in the Rye

We are moving house this summer, and while packing up the books in my study I came across an article I wrote nearly thirty years ago but that I had completely forgotten about. It is about usage problems and their function in … Continue reading

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Merriam Webster’s lexicographers

The Merriam Webster Dictionary of English Usage (1989) is unusual among the usage guides I have seen in that the work isn’t by a single author, such as Fowler’s Modern English Usage (1926) or Kingley Amis’s The King’s English (1997). The work … Continue reading

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Begging the question?!

During the past few weeks, two readers of this blog commented on Jasper Spierenburg’s use of the expression “begging the question“. As far as I know, there is nothing wrong with it, so why the comments? To check my (non-native … Continue reading

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Usage guides and the Book Club Associates

Yesterday, I wrote a post about my discovery of Harry Blamires’s usage guide, called The Cassell Guide to Common Errors in English (1998). The publisher is mentioned as BCA, which as I now know, thanks to Tim Waller, stands for Book Club … Continue reading

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Who is Harry Blamires?

There, I’ve done it again: I found another usage guide at our local (Dutch!) charity shop Het Warenhuis. How did the book end up in the Netherlands? There is no ownership inscription unfortunately, so we won’t know who the former … Continue reading

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